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Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos


Below is the list of papers available in the first year. Students take a total of four papers, the following two are compulsory:

PBS 1: Introduction to Psychology

This course aims to introduce a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of Psychology. Through studying this course, students will develop their understanding of how the different approaches address specific topics within psychology. Topics are selected such that students without prior training in psychology will not be disadvantaged. After a brief introduction to the history of psychology, and its various sub-disciplines, a series of 5 broad topics will be explored. Each topic will be covered over 3 weeks, with research and ideas from different theoretical viewpoints being discussed and compared.

PBS 2: Psychological Enquiry and Methods

This course will be taught alongside the PBS 1: Introduction to Psychology course, with the aim of developing and understanding a range of techniques used within the psychological sciences. Along with the understanding of methodological issues, the course will also cover the fundamental components of biology (from genes to neurons) and research numeracy (presentation, probability and statistics) required to study psychology. Teaching will include practical sessions, giving the opportunity to experience how techniques work, and to develop specific research skills.


Optional papers vary from year to year, but will typically include topics on the following:

  • Archaeology
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Evolution and Behaviour
  • Social Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy

At the end of the year, students sit a three-hour written examination in each of the four papers.